Absolutely nothing but knee-highs at Akihabara’s new sock emporium

Absolutely nothing but knee-highs at Akihabara’s new sock emporium

A while back, we told you about Japan’s Knee-High Socks Day. Held on November 28, or 11-28, the date was chosen because of some wrangling of the Japanese language that enables 11 to be pronounced “ii” (Japanese for “good”), and 28 “knee high.”

By the same linguistic basis, though, you could make the case that February 8, or 2-8, is just as fitting as Knee-High Socks Day. Of course this means losing the “11 = good” portion of the equation, but true fans would argue that the adjective is redundant anyway, as knee-high socks are always good.

In celebration of Knee-High Sock Day 2, why not attend the grand opening of a new shop in Tokyo that sells nothing but that particular piece of clothing?

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Do we have time for three hours of classic NES start screens? Yes we do

Do we have time for three hours of classic NES start screens? Yes we do

In the last 15 months, every major video game console maker has released a new piece of hardware. Each has titles with phenomenal, sometimes photo-realistic visuals, and soundtracks that make it seem like there’s a full orchestra hiding behind the TV providing musical accompaniment.

And yet, none of them stir any stronger emotions than the openings to the original games in the Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda series, exactly as they appeared in their NES/Famicom forms. There’s something perfect about those 8-bit intros, even if they can’t match the technical heights of current games. If anything, the fact that their designers struggled against those restraints, but still managed to create something moving, helps to convey their emotion all the better.

That direct transmission of effort and personal passion, which can never be completely duplicated with more complex titles and the larger staff such endeavors require, is exactly what’s on display in this three-hour compilation of NES start screens.

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Ranma 1/2′s Happōsai voice actor Ichirô Nagai passes away

Ranma 1/2′s Happōsai voice actor Ichirô Nagai passes away

Ichirô Nagai, the voice actor of Sazae-san‘s Namihei and Ranma ½‘s Happōsai, was discovered after he had collapsed in a Hiroshima City hotel on Monday morning. He was taken to a hospital, but he passed away. He was 82.

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Marshmallow girls unite! Meet Chubbiness, Japan’s latest “chubby” girl idol group!

Marshmallow girls unite! Meet Chubbiness, Japan’s latest “chubby” girl idol group!

In Japan, being an idol is serious business. Getting caught in anything that has the potential of crushing a fan’s dreams could easily result in the idol getting fired. Simple things that common people partake in without as much as a blink of an eye, such as dating, smoking, or even putting on weight, are huge taboos for many members of Japanese idol groups.

But recently, a new idol group that overturns the conventional concept of weight-watching has surfaced. Instead of watching their weight to keep slim, the chubby idols from Chubbiness are required to maintain their well-rounded figures, or risk getting sent out of the group!

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Beautiful South Korean reporter ruins her face with plastic surgery

Beautiful South Korean reporter ruins her face with plastic surgery

Take a look at that beautiful woman in the “before” picture. She certainly has the whole package (assuming her personality matches her looks). But when the “after” photo of her post-plastic surgery face showed up on a Japanese forum, it caused cute girl aficionados across the nation to cry out in horror. After seeing the photos ourselves, we can’t help but feel that this absolutely beautiful woman ruined her face and would go as far as saying that the surgery was a waste of a perfectly attractive female.

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This man’s account of single-handedly digging his own well is oddly moving

This man’s account of single-handedly digging his own well is oddly moving

Have you got what it takes to dig your own private well? Well, to be honest, the thought has never really crossed our minds before, but after watching this video we’ve sure been inspired to try (sounds like a good summer project for Mr. Sato). We’ve also learned that well-digging is not for the faint of heart. Here’s the video journal of one man’s long journey to create a well in his backyard over the course of a summer. His adventure was full of ups and downs and many frustrating moments, but the end result was worth all of the trouble, not to mention making surprisingly interesting watching. Join us after the jump for a slideshow of this strenuous undertaking!

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What’s the secret to Coco Ichi’s reign of the curry kingdom?

What’s the secret to Coco Ichi’s reign of the curry kingdom?

Curry is pretty much the ultimate Japanese comfort food loved by children, adults and picky eaters alike. And with data showing that Japanese people eat curry more than once a week, it has definitely become one of the country’s national foods despite its Indian-British origins. And one curry restaurant in particular, Curry House Coco Ichibanya or “Coco Ichi” to its patrons, is reaping the benefits of this curry craze, claiming about 80% of the market share! With more than 1,200 shops in Japan and 116 overseas franchises, it seems like nothing can stop this curry giant.

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Perfectly timed photo at sumo match captures moment of surprising beauty, sumo super powers

Perfectly timed photo at sumo match captures moment of surprising beauty, sumo super powers

Its popularity may be dwindling in today’s world of ultra-rich football and baseball teams and their players, but there’s something wonderfully dignified, almost majestic, about sumo. And as one photograph shared last weekend by the Japan Sumo Association shows, there is perhaps even more magic to be seen if only we could all just slow down and open our eyes a little more often.

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Think Beijing’s famous smog Is bad? Delhi’s is worse 【Photos】

Think Beijing’s famous smog Is bad? Delhi’s is worse 【Photos】

China’s smog — which routinely engulfs major cities like Beijing and Shanghai — is notorious, and it’s recently reached “danger levels.” But the the smog in New Delhi, The New York Times reports, is actually worse.

The air in New Delhi “is more laden with dangerous small particles of pollution, more often, than Beijing’s,” Gardiner Harris writes, and “a very bad air day in Beijing is about an average one in New Delhi.”

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call could be on its way to the Western world

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call could be on its way to the Western world

Final Fantasy, perhaps the biggest and best Japanese RPG series ever as far as the Western world is concerned, is no stranger to spin-offs and dubious sub-sequels. There have been a handful of gems amongst them, but there are some that even fans of the main series would prefer to imagine never happened. Rhythm action game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, however, is one of the few non-core entries in the series that we’re sure gamers would be keen to get their hands on should its makers see fit to release it outside of Japan. And if a patent recently filed in Europe is any indication, they may just get their wish.

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Grated radish art from Japan brings the cute to your favourite dishes

Grated radish art from Japan brings the cute to your favourite dishes

If you’ve been keeping up with the amazing 3-D latte art trends going on in Japan’s barista world right now, then you might want to take a look at their savoury counterparts popping up in grated radish form. Instead of swimming in cups of coffee, these adorable home-made creations are taking dips in winter hot pots and stews. Join us as we take a look at some of the cutest critters on offer, from Ghibli characters to sleeping cats, and see just how easy it is to cook up some edible cuteness at home.

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Japan seems just a little more terrifying with discovery of local leech’s superpower

Japan seems just a little more terrifying with discovery of local leech’s superpower

Japan is rightfully billed as being an extremely safe country, and for the most part this extends to its natural environment. Lacking the wolves of Europe and North America, the lions and hippopotami of Africa, and the poisonous everything of Australia, there really isn’t a whole lot lurking in the Japanese animal kingdom that frightens us.

Or at least there wasn’t, until we heard the news that Japan is home to a species of super leeches that can even survive being frozen.

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Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate heads west on 3DS in early 2015

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate heads west on 3DS in early 2015

Ryozo Tsujimoto, the producer of the Monster Hunter game series at CAPCOM, announced in a video message on Sunday that Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will be coming to the West. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (“which is the equivalent of MH4G“) will be available on Nintendo 3DS in early 2015.

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Japanese Twitter user stumbles across legendary deep-sea fish, cooks and eats it four different ways

Japanese Twitter user stumbles across legendary deep-sea fish, cooks and eats it four different ways

Every once in a while the Japanese media picks up on the story of an extremely long deep sea fish that washes up on its shores. Called an “oarfish,” it is long believed to be a harbinger of earthquakes.

But for one Twitter user it was a harbinger of an impressive four course meal. While out before sunrise, he stumbled along one of these allegedly supernatural fish washed up on shore. After contacting several marine institutes and finding none to claim the large fish, he tossed superstitions aside and acted on the belief that when life hands you an oarfish, you make oarfish fillets.

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Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

For years, science fiction movies have been teasing us with visions of high-tech wonders that remain frustratingly just out of reach. Where are our flying cars? Shouldn’t we at least have those hovering skateboards by now? How is it we can put a man on the moon, but we haven’t perfected an automated kitchen that can read our thoughts and cook what we want for dinner?

But today, the waiting ends for one of our technology-based dreams, as we operate a powered robot suit from anime and manga hit Appleseed.

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Don’t forget to wash your hands! Funny tweets from Japanese bathroom【Photos】

Don’t forget to wash your hands! Funny tweets from Japanese bathroom【Photos】

Though not something we usually think about in our day-to-day lives, toilets are actually kind of awesome. In addition to the wonderful sewer systems that keep our living environments clean and us healthy, the toilet can be a magical place of undisturbed tranquility. Jun’ichio Tanizaki even dedicated a significant portion of In Praise of Shadows, a landmark essay about Japanese aesthetics, to why he thought Japanese bathrooms were so great.

Tanizaki’s writing was published over 80 years ago and things have changed a lot since then–but Japanese toilets can still be awesome. Or least pretty funny. Here are 19 of the best toilet photos tweeted in Japan!

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FamilyMart cancels release of foie gras bento due to complaints over animal cruelty

FamilyMart cancels release of foie gras bento due to complaints over animal cruelty

Popular Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart has cancelled the release of a foie gras and beef patty bento ready meal due to customer complaints. While news of the cancellation will no doubt please animal rights supporters, some Japanese netizens have opposed the decision, arguing that the consumption of foie gras is no worse than the consumption of beef.

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A mother’s cell phone: Probably the most moving story you’ll read today

A mother’s cell phone: Probably the most moving story you’ll read today

Filial piety isn’t just an empty phrase–it’s a very important cultural concept throughout Asia and, if we’re being honest with ourselves, the rest of the world. While not all of us have the best relationships with our parents, most of us would probably admit, under pain of torture if nothing else, that we do love them. Even with all the embarrassment they put us through in our teens!

While most of our readers are still young enough that your parents are likely still healthy and spry, it’s never too early to take some time to stop and appreciate them and everything they do. If you’re thinking we’re being melodramatic, then we’d challenge you to take a look at this incredibly moving story…

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Chinese millionaire offers small fortune to rent a girlfriend for the Lunar New Year, fails miserably

Chinese millionaire offers small fortune to rent a girlfriend for the Lunar New Year, fails miserably

The Chinese Lunar New Year is less than a week away. Indisputably the biggest event of the year for the Chinese, it is a time when families reunite to celebrate the start of a new year. It is crunch time for Chinese around the world as they get busy preparing for the big day; filling refrigerators with food, preparing hongbao (red envelopes with money in them), and for some, finding the perfect “other half” to introduce to their expectant family.

A wealthy young man has recently offered to pay 1,000,000 Chinese yuan (around US$165,300) to rent a “girlfriend” for a week to accompany him on his trip back to his hometown for the annual celebrations. But even his stacks of cash didn’t seem to help.

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Foreign men share their reasons for divorcing their Japanese wives

Foreign men share their reasons for divorcing their Japanese wives

Earlier this month, we brought you an article about foreign men sounding off on the difficulties of having a Japanese wife. While some of their complaints were understandable and others were just downright silly (you can’t deal with tofu? C’mon!), international relationships in real life don’t always end as happily as in the movie My Darling is a Foreigner.

Continuing the international marriage theme in a more unfortunate direction, we now bring you the voices of some foreign men who have gone through the experience of divorcing Japanese women. You might be surprised to learn that the main catalyst for divorce in each of their scenarios was rarely related directly to cultural differences. Instead, it seems that a combination of other factors played the decisive role.

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